Vogel, Richards Relish Opportunity to Serve as Spirit Leaders


Kylie Callaway, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Being the FanMan and Mermaid is a major opportunity at Notre Dame. This year we have two energetic people filling these shoes: Adam Vogel and Sophia Richards. 

Each year these spirit leaders have the role of coming up with the themes, but how do they do it? They use collaboration and ideas from previous years. With great difficulty, they can get other themes approved.

There are many ways that you can hear about upcoming events and the theme for the next event. You can join Adam and Sophia on ndaupdates (Instagram), Fanmanxmermaid2021(TikTok), and, of course, Snapchat.

“When it comes down to communication, Adam and I are both pretty social. We encourage students to attend games, dress up, and get involved with the school. In this day and age, social media has become an awesome resource in spreading the word. There is an Instagram account @ndaupdates which was created three years ago by FanMan Howie Gerstner and Mermaid Leya Abujamra. We post regularly with information and announcements to the account which is followed by students, parents and faculty. With the development of more social media platforms, Adam and I wanted to expand our creativity and school spirit. We recently created a Tik Tok account last month. Be sure to follow @fanmanxmermaid2021 on Tik Tok to keep up with theme releases and fun content throughout this school year,” said Richards.

Not only do these individuals help plan the themes, but they also play a major role in the tailgates. FanMan and Mermaid put their own money into these tailgates. They provide food, tents, yard games, music and much more. They even have a Mini Cooper that is filled with all the utensils one might need. Individuals can always bring food and other supplies for the group.  

While there are big responsibilities with these roles, what does it truly mean to be FanMan or Mermaid?

“The role of the FanMan is to be a leader and role model for the Tritons. Since my freshman year, it was something that interested me.  I never could imagine that someday I would take on the role,” said Vogel.

“The role of Mermaid means a lot to me,” said Richards.  “It’s a really special feeling when you know a majority of the school supports you and votes you into this position. The Fitzgerald duo put up some good competition. Since freshman year, I had always been told that I should run for Mermaid. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the idea up until Covid. Once we weren’t able to experience school in the same way, I knew that I wanted to get involved my senior year and go to all the sporting games to make up for the odd year and a half that we didn’t quite have.” 

The roles of FanMan and Mermaid come with great responsibility. It is something that challenges and brings out the best in these student leaders.